Comic Strip Name Dispute Amongst CGB Staff – Quack Ups Versus Quax

First comic strip about ducks

This is the first comic strip about Ducks in a park setting

One of the reasons I agreed to partner up with ComicsGoneBad is that they agreed to be open about the process of creating new comic strips–including the arguments. That means I get to write about how ridiculous cartooning can be when several people are involved, and in this article it’s about the CGB staff.

Now currently, I’m the main artist for CGB, though, we have some guest artists who may be coming on board soon, but for each idea that the staff comes up with I have to interpret it. The staff includes members of Unicorn Multimediaheaded up by Attila Jancsina who is the creator of Joovia, myself and site owners Lange & Levid. As you can imagine, every person on the staff has their own idea of what’s funny and what a comic strip should be.

It starts with Langid & Levid, or rather Arthur Lange and Daniel Levid, who approached me to license all my existing comics and have me create new ones because I had experience in writing and drawing both traditional family fare (the kind of strips you see in the newspapers) and more edgy, grown-up humor. The problem with Lange & Levid is that while they are very good at running business sites they vehemently disagree with each other on comics. Both are fans of the genre but Lange appreciates nostalgic mainstream comic funnies like Dennis The Menace, Peanuts, Skippy, Popeye, and so forth and Levid is more up to date with online comics but also enjoys Bloom County, Boondocks and Doonesbury.Lange, while not a moralist in any way, would like the comics on this site to be sort of innocent and traditional. The comics could be sexy to some extent, even joke a little about sex, but not show nudity or deal with too many adult situations. Levid, on the other hand, is all for pushing the boundaries and featuring sex, nudity and language in CGB comic features as long as it doesn’t cross over into porn.

As far as I’m concerned, I like both approaches and have an appreciation for most comic strips, whether they be classics or new online comic strips. The only real offense is if a comic feature is boring.

Attila feels about the same way though for his own feature Joovia he wants to keep it in good taste. I admittedly will often use bad taste in my series Frenetic Funnies and The Cynic. The Cynic in particular is probably one of the crudest storyline strips put on the net which may have not been the best thing for my cartooning career–but I couldn’t help myself. I’m rebooting the series in the members section and hopefully will find a better balance of adult type humor and being crude only when necessary (yeah, right!).

So the staff isn’t a bunch of prudes, the kind that writes into newspapers about a Boondocks strip that used the word “hell.” It’s more about what makes us love comic strips and are there any reasons why there shouldn’t be PG13 or R-rated comic strips? As well as how to create new comic strips, and that’s where we get into our staff naming dispute.

Lange is the one who contacted me about his idea for a comic strip about ducks. He was disappointed that most of the material that I had submitted thus far to ComicsGoneBad was either too sexy, too outrageous or too crude. He wanted something more like a syndicated newspaper strip. So the premise is about ducks in a park setting having conversations with themselves and visitors. Fairly simple stuff. I agreed and took it on as a new assignment. But what to call the strip?  Well, I went ahead and named the first strip “Quack Ups” as you can see from the first image.

When Lange saw it he loved it.I thought it wasn’t too bad as a test, but it was a cheap shot at blondes–of which you’ll see more on the site. One of our CGB guilty pleasures is blonde jokes.

The rest of the staff saw the comic strip and then that’s when the emails started pouring in. Why don’t we change this, let’s make it more like that, and on and on. I don’t know how famous cartoonists ever put up with syndicate editors to begin with? I guess once you’re famous though you can tell everyone to shut up. I don’t have that luxury yet–I’m like Kathy Griffin, a D-List cartoonist. I’m known by some but not enough of the mainstream public to justify being arrogant.

I’m still sorting through all of the feedback, but the main issue at hand was that nobody except Lange liked the name “Quack Ups.” They thought it was too cliche and rather corny. Corny was what I was going for when I thought up the name, but it wasn’t really my strip per se so I didn’t really care if the name got changed. Lange reluctantly agreed to allow for a brainstorming session to rename the comic strip. Here’s what the staff came up with.

Attila perferred to find something unique for marketing purposes so he suggested “Quax.”

Levid had a several name ideas including: 

  • WiseQuackers
  • Duck Soup (wasn’t that already used by the Marx Bros?)
  • You’ve Been Billed (huh?)
  • Flying South
  • Ruffled Feathers (not bad)

Then we had Comstock’s list. Now I haven’t mentioned Comstock yet in this article but he is technically on staff as a writer, though in a limited fashion. He formerly worked in the adult industry as an artist and writer and is kind of obnoxious so maybe that will explain the odd nature of his name suggestions:

  • MotherDuckers
  • Skinny Dippin’ Ducks
  • What the Duck?
  • Dickless Ducks (huh?)
  • Water Humping
  • Duck Hunt (when confronted, he said, “So what if it was a well known Nintendo Game.”)
  • Roasted (as in a pun on a celebrity roast, but with ducks?)
  • Duck Nuts
  • Donald Duck Sucks

As you can see Comstock wasn’t much help. The admin staff, made up of some bubbly women and a guy who agrees with them because he wants to get laid (just kidding Harold) came up with these:

  • Look, a Duck (okay?)
  • We Love Ducks
  • Everything is Just Ducky
  • Quack Attack (I think Disney already used that)
  • Quick Quack
  • Ducx
  • Duck Tape (nice pun, but not sure what it refers to?)

There were other name suggestions, but most were worse than these. It finally came down to a vote between keeping the title “Quack Ups”, changing to “WiseQuackers” or changing to “Quax”.  “Quax” won out by 2 votes. I’m not going to say which name I voted for but I was fine with the new name title. So thus we have the second strip with the new title.

New name for the comic strip is Quax

Going forward you can expect to see more Quax comic stripsuntil we reach a certain number of them and then it will be time to decide if the comic is to “go bad”.  This means Comstock or maybe just I will write a more “adult-ish” version for the members section.

If for some reason you readers protest and want to keep Quax “good” then we’ll have to leave it alone. I suspect though that Lange will lose control of the strip to Levid’s basic idea that readers here would like to see a more edgy version of each new comic strip introduced.
We shall see. Until the next controversy, this is cartoonist Jeff Swenson writing about behind the scenes at ComicsGoneBad.com .

First of all: You are at least a C-list cartoonist. Second: While “Quack ups” simply sucks “Quax” sounds like something you want to check out. Also, you dont have the admin rights to change the name back, Levid lost his login as usual, so I guess it’s settled…
Attila